Can local NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne get his career out of the pits?

The racer from Enumclaw brings an 83-race winless streak into this weekend’s Daytona 500. With is contract set to expire in 2018, he needs a few wins to fuel his career.

There was a time when Kasey Kahne was the future of NASCAR — a prodigy on the fast track literally and figuratively.

The Enumclaw native’s six Monster Energy Cup wins in 2006 were more than any other driver, including that year’s champion, Jimmie Johnson.

If you were to turn back the clock to that season, you’d see a 25-year-old Kahne on the verge of stardom in the country’s most popular motorsports series. But that’s only if you turn back the clock — because when it comes to career in the present day … the clock is ticking.

Like Dan Marino reaching his lone Super Bowl in his second NFL season, Kahne’s acme appears to have come early. Now 36, he has yet to have another year with more than two victories, and is winless since August of 2014.

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For a driver of his profile and ability, that’s a Sahara-esque drought. The good news? He has a chance to snap that skid in the most glorious way this weekend.

“We had a racetrack at home when I was a kid, and I was always imagining it was the last lap at Daytona,” Kahne said. “It’s been a dream of mine all my life.”

Sunday will mark Kahne’s 14th Daytona 500 (where he’ll start 28th), which is widely considered the Super Bowl of NASCAR. And though Kasey has had three top-10 finishes in the race, he has never crossed the line first on the final lap.

Perhaps it’s overambitious to want to end an 83-race winless streak with the most prestigious checkered flag in the sport. It’s kind of like snapping out of a hitting slump with a walkoff grand slam.

But in addition to Kahne feeling confident that his Hendrick Motorsports racing team has made significant strides this offseason, there is another reason to think Kasey will hit the…

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